Council leader agrees to meet with traders as Darlington parking saga rumbles on

The Northern Echo: Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council Councillor Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council

A COUNCIL leader has agreed to crisis talks to head-off a growing row with business leaders over town centre parking.

Traders in Darlington say parking problems are putting off shoppers and threatening livelihoods – and they have now received backing from an independent regeneration body which is calling for action before the town “dies a death”.

Shopkeepers say a lack of loading bays, an excess of yellow lines, too few parking spaces, pedestrianisation and overly-efficient traffic wardens are driving customers away.

Now the leader of Darlington Borough Council, Bill Dixon, has responded by agreeing to meet traders to diffuse the escalating row.

The dispute comes after debates over parking in Northallerton, Middlesbrough and, bitterest of all, in Yarm, where a row over pay-and-display charges on the High Street led to a referendum on whether the town should leave Stockton borough and join North Yorkshire.

In Darlington, the issue came to a head when florist Rob Metcalfe put up posters accusing the council of creating a ghost town and destroying businesses.

Inspired by his plight, business owner Beryl Hankin, of Guru Boutique, called for a meeting between council leaders and an elected committee of traders.

Cllr Dixon’s agreement to meet comes days after Distinct Darlington, a body that works closely with the council to improve the town, publicly backed calls for a review of parking policy.

Distinct Darlington take a levy from the traders to finance projects associated with the Business Improvement District (BID) scheme, set up to improve the town centre and develop its business environment.

Manager Alex Hirst said: “We would like the council to address parking enforcement, particularly for businesses.

“At present if a delivery driver or a customer can’t find a loading bay space and parks as close as they can to unload or collect items, they are often issued with a ticket without warning.

“Secondly, there seem to be issues with the loading bays in some areas of the town centre - in particular, the quantity and how they are managed.

“More loading bays would help – as would better communication and a more helpful attitude on the part of the parking enforcement officers. “

The organisation’s chair, Nicola Reading, said the council must act before the town centre “dies a death”.

Cllr Dixon said: “I don’t think there are many parking issues in the town centre but I’ve listened to the concerns. That's why I’m meeting with a small group of traders – so I can get my head around what’s happening and how to put it right.

“I’m surprised at Distinct Darlington because they have regular meetings with us and we have people on their board – I don’t know why they didn’t approach us directly.”

“The tragedy of it all is that within a year, we will have the answer to this. We’re going to have 650 extra pay on exit spaces in a multi-storey car park. We would just ask for the chance to deliver it.”

Last year, Middlesbrough introduced free two-hour parking in its main shopping car parks in a bid to entice more visitors, although the experiment has since been scaled back.

In Northallerton, two-hour free parking on the High Street was withdrawn last month in an attempt to free up more spaces for shoppers, although some traders claim it may have reduced footfall.

Meanwhile a bitter row over the introduction of pay-and-display parking charges on Yarm High Street rumbles on, with protesters organising a referendum calling for the town to leave Stockton and join North Yorkshire.

Meetings between Distinct Darlington, the traders and Cllr Dixon are expected this week.

Comments (43)

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6:45am Mon 14 Jul 14

DP20 says...

The town is dying a death already, to little to late, stop using the residents of this town as a cash cow DBC for the over inflated salaries for the numerous directors, you lining your own pockets and creating pet projects that won't work and make the town even more a no go area for shoppers due to traffic congestion, step down get some new forward thinking staff in the council, I've moved away now and in my local area can park almost anywhere and even the car parks don't have any machines at all, it's a diabolical situation you are leaving for the future residents, and why does or take a year just take the signs down and machines, if you can't park somewhere then look around, full free car parks means less closed shops and more footfall which makes Darlington an attractive option to shop in, it's common sense for the residents of Darlington, wake up before this town disappears
The town is dying a death already, to little to late, stop using the residents of this town as a cash cow DBC for the over inflated salaries for the numerous directors, you lining your own pockets and creating pet projects that won't work and make the town even more a no go area for shoppers due to traffic congestion, step down get some new forward thinking staff in the council, I've moved away now and in my local area can park almost anywhere and even the car parks don't have any machines at all, it's a diabolical situation you are leaving for the future residents, and why does or take a year just take the signs down and machines, if you can't park somewhere then look around, full free car parks means less closed shops and more footfall which makes Darlington an attractive option to shop in, it's common sense for the residents of Darlington, wake up before this town disappears DP20
  • Score: 57

7:00am Mon 14 Jul 14

Hunty1 says...

Well it's a start, albeit a long awaited one! I am concerned that the organisation Distinct Darlington are not voices / reporting back the concerns of the traders. Perhaps they should look at their own role and learn how to best support the traders.
Also what comes to kind when reading this article it's obvious that the "Leader" of the Council clearly doesn't read the press and head no idea of what the traders and residents think... So what does he care about?
Well it's a start, albeit a long awaited one! I am concerned that the organisation Distinct Darlington are not voices / reporting back the concerns of the traders. Perhaps they should look at their own role and learn how to best support the traders. Also what comes to kind when reading this article it's obvious that the "Leader" of the Council clearly doesn't read the press and head no idea of what the traders and residents think... So what does he care about? Hunty1
  • Score: 42

7:25am Mon 14 Jul 14

Darloresident says...

Puffing Billy says "I don't think there are many parking issues in the town centre" Says it all really..
Despite residents visitors traders and now the town management team saying there are problems he still cant as he puts it "get his head around it."
Why has it come to this?
The man and his team are incapable of formulating and implementing a long term town centre parking plan that is sensible and workable.In fact he refuses to acknowledge there is a problem and sits on his hands whilst watching our town centre die.
He says we have the lowest number of vacant town centre premises in the whole of the north east but cant or wont produce figures to back up this wild claim.He says that Mr Metcalfe the florist has only himself to blame for his failing business.He says that there are lots of great things happening including a Cinema and Debenhams.It turns out Debenhams dont want to come even with council cash as a sweetner and we have yet to see any progress or commitment to the cinema development.In the meantime he refurbishes the town hall and uses our money to erect a new building and letting it out to a government department - this makes the council a commercial landlord with no guarantee of ever getting our 10m pounds cost back..Now he talks about the new car park and blithley says all (non exisistent to him) parking problems will be solved once this is built.
Tell you what Bill - you are sitting on an electoral volcano that hopefully will erupt next May when the people of Darlington will vote out of office the man who is complacent in the slow death of Darlington and lest we forget the obvious looming closure of Teesside Airport.
Anything Bill touches turns to dust in his hands .The man and his policies are toxic for Darlington and he needs to go and go quickly.
Puffing Billy says "I don't think there are many parking issues in the town centre" Says it all really.. Despite residents visitors traders and now the town management team saying there are problems he still cant as he puts it "get his head around it." Why has it come to this? The man and his team are incapable of formulating and implementing a long term town centre parking plan that is sensible and workable.In fact he refuses to acknowledge there is a problem and sits on his hands whilst watching our town centre die. He says we have the lowest number of vacant town centre premises in the whole of the north east but cant or wont produce figures to back up this wild claim.He says that Mr Metcalfe the florist has only himself to blame for his failing business.He says that there are lots of great things happening including a Cinema and Debenhams.It turns out Debenhams dont want to come even with council cash as a sweetner and we have yet to see any progress or commitment to the cinema development.In the meantime he refurbishes the town hall and uses our money to erect a new building and letting it out to a government department - this makes the council a commercial landlord with no guarantee of ever getting our 10m pounds cost back..Now he talks about the new car park and blithley says all (non exisistent to him) parking problems will be solved once this is built. Tell you what Bill - you are sitting on an electoral volcano that hopefully will erupt next May when the people of Darlington will vote out of office the man who is complacent in the slow death of Darlington and lest we forget the obvious looming closure of Teesside Airport. Anything Bill touches turns to dust in his hands .The man and his policies are toxic for Darlington and he needs to go and go quickly. Darloresident
  • Score: 74

8:28am Mon 14 Jul 14

John Justice says...

Darlington town is a business. Albeit composed of thousands of different and individual business and traders. The "Business" includes everyone, from shoppers, staff, owners, and dare I say it, Council officers. To run a business you need professional competent people who know what they are about. They need to know just about everything that keeps that business ticking, keeping it efficient and effective. Keeping it in profit. Unfortunately it seems that this business has people and organisations on board that are at the least ineffective and at worst incompetent. Step forward our local council and its officers fronted by Bill Dixon. This is an issue that should, and could have been dealt with in an efficient and effective way that avoided what is happening now. This Council recognises that the motorist/shopper/tra
der is the easiest way of raising money by fining them for parking offences without providing proper structures to accommodate the small traders who form the life blood of the town. It cries out for a more professional type of Council officer who know what business is about.
Darlington town is a business. Albeit composed of thousands of different and individual business and traders. The "Business" includes everyone, from shoppers, staff, owners, and dare I say it, Council officers. To run a business you need professional competent people who know what they are about. They need to know just about everything that keeps that business ticking, keeping it efficient and effective. Keeping it in profit. Unfortunately it seems that this business has people and organisations on board that are at the least ineffective and at worst incompetent. Step forward our local council and its officers fronted by Bill Dixon. This is an issue that should, and could have been dealt with in an efficient and effective way that avoided what is happening now. This Council recognises that the motorist/shopper/tra der is the easiest way of raising money by fining them for parking offences without providing proper structures to accommodate the small traders who form the life blood of the town. It cries out for a more professional type of Council officer who know what business is about. John Justice
  • Score: 39

8:38am Mon 14 Jul 14

Time-Traveller says...

Maybe the Traffic Wardens would be better put to use around the schools areas at certain times of the day and round residential areas giving justified tickets to those who park inconsiderately (like right on the corners of junctions). The Traders do need deliveries, so how about DBC issuing a type of 'Pass' to the Trader for use in the window of the deliverer? Or, a whole new concept of giving the Traders some powers to have some control over their delivery trucks.....
Maybe the Traffic Wardens would be better put to use around the schools areas at certain times of the day and round residential areas giving justified tickets to those who park inconsiderately (like right on the corners of junctions). The Traders do need deliveries, so how about DBC issuing a type of 'Pass' to the Trader for use in the window of the deliverer? Or, a whole new concept of giving the Traders some powers to have some control over their delivery trucks..... Time-Traveller
  • Score: 41

9:48am Mon 14 Jul 14

Triglet says...

All i hear is whinge whinge and more whinge you Darlo lot voted billy boy and his merry men of bandits in power now live with it and be quiet .simples Bish reso
All i hear is whinge whinge and more whinge you Darlo lot voted billy boy and his merry men of bandits in power now live with it and be quiet .simples Bish reso Triglet
  • Score: -31

10:30am Mon 14 Jul 14

sudukoninja says...

Buffallo Bill and his entourage of henchmen continuing to suck the life out of this town!

Welcome to Dixon-ville!!!
Buffallo Bill and his entourage of henchmen continuing to suck the life out of this town! Welcome to Dixon-ville!!! sudukoninja
  • Score: 44

10:33am Mon 14 Jul 14

SirLance says...

Take him on Darlington! Parking is a congested mess! Yellow lines everywhere! Restrictions on restrictions! Empty shops! Low footfall, dirty paving with chewing gum gobs everywhere! Trash blowing about the streets! Take away food litter! Poor old Post House Wynd! That's where Bill Dixon needs to take a stroll ! I hope he does get caught short and needs to pay a penny! He will ave to hike across to the Dolphin Center I believe? Hopefully it's raining hard too, maybe even a bit of sleet?? BTW - How would visitors know where the toilets were hidden in Darlington?? stand up and et value for all you hard earned tax money paid!
Take him on Darlington! Parking is a congested mess! Yellow lines everywhere! Restrictions on restrictions! Empty shops! Low footfall, dirty paving with chewing gum gobs everywhere! Trash blowing about the streets! Take away food litter! Poor old Post House Wynd! That's where Bill Dixon needs to take a stroll ! I hope he does get caught short and needs to pay a penny! He will ave to hike across to the Dolphin Center I believe? Hopefully it's raining hard too, maybe even a bit of sleet?? BTW - How would visitors know where the toilets were hidden in Darlington?? stand up and et value for all you hard earned tax money paid! SirLance
  • Score: 43

10:33am Mon 14 Jul 14

SirLance says...

Take him on Darlington! Parking is a congested mess! Yellow lines everywhere! Restrictions on restrictions! Empty shops! Low footfall, dirty paving with chewing gum gobs everywhere! Trash blowing about the streets! Take away food litter! Poor old Post House Wynd! That's where Bill Dixon needs to take a stroll ! I hope he does get caught short and needs to pay a penny! He will ave to hike across to the Dolphin Center I believe? Hopefully it's raining hard too, maybe even a bit of sleet?? BTW - How would visitors know where the toilets were hidden in Darlington?? stand up and get value for all you hard earned tax money paid!
Take him on Darlington! Parking is a congested mess! Yellow lines everywhere! Restrictions on restrictions! Empty shops! Low footfall, dirty paving with chewing gum gobs everywhere! Trash blowing about the streets! Take away food litter! Poor old Post House Wynd! That's where Bill Dixon needs to take a stroll ! I hope he does get caught short and needs to pay a penny! He will ave to hike across to the Dolphin Center I believe? Hopefully it's raining hard too, maybe even a bit of sleet?? BTW - How would visitors know where the toilets were hidden in Darlington?? stand up and get value for all you hard earned tax money paid! SirLance
  • Score: 9

10:53am Mon 14 Jul 14

DarloXman says...

Triglet wrote:
All i hear is whinge whinge and more whinge you Darlo lot voted billy boy and his merry men of bandits in power now live with it and be quiet .simples Bish reso
Well done Mr Dixon - you are going to meet with your customers - let's hope you actually listen to them.

Can I therefore be the first to nominate Mr Dixon for an OBE - he must be due one for his tremendous service to promoting Darlington the the great heights it now enjoys! In fact going forward I will now refer to Mr Dixon as "Mr Dixon (OBE nominated)."

Likewise, for her equally impressive service I also wish to nominate Ms Ada Burns (OBE nominated) for her tremendous "value for money" to Darlington!
[quote][p][bold]Triglet[/bold] wrote: All i hear is whinge whinge and more whinge you Darlo lot voted billy boy and his merry men of bandits in power now live with it and be quiet .simples Bish reso[/p][/quote]Well done Mr Dixon - you are going to meet with your customers - let's hope you actually listen to them. Can I therefore be the first to nominate Mr Dixon for an OBE - he must be due one for his tremendous service to promoting Darlington the the great heights it now enjoys! In fact going forward I will now refer to Mr Dixon as "Mr Dixon (OBE nominated)." Likewise, for her equally impressive service I also wish to nominate Ms Ada Burns (OBE nominated) for her tremendous "value for money" to Darlington! DarloXman
  • Score: 10

11:29am Mon 14 Jul 14

oliviaden6 says...

A meeting for WHAT! Bill is just going through the motions. This council that i did not vote for i might add is bleeding this town dry with its attitude and the way it is running it. A time is coming when we as voters can vote for change and i believe the good people of Darlington need change and deserve change for the better and greater good of us all.
A meeting for WHAT! Bill is just going through the motions. This council that i did not vote for i might add is bleeding this town dry with its attitude and the way it is running it. A time is coming when we as voters can vote for change and i believe the good people of Darlington need change and deserve change for the better and greater good of us all. oliviaden6
  • Score: 34

11:32am Mon 14 Jul 14

darloboss says...

Cllr Dixon said: “I don’t think there are many parking issues in the town centre but I’ve listened to the concerns. That's why I’m meeting with a small group of traders – so I can get my head around what’s happening and how to put it right.
so he has made his mind up already
i wonder who this small group of traders are ?
Cllr Dixon said: “I don’t think there are many parking issues in the town centre but I’ve listened to the concerns. That's why I’m meeting with a small group of traders – so I can get my head around what’s happening and how to put it right. so he has made his mind up already i wonder who this small group of traders are ? darloboss
  • Score: 21

11:32am Mon 14 Jul 14

snudge says...

All you darlington people are getting what you deserve for voting LABOUR like sheep going slaughter SERVES YOU RIGHT!!! As for your traffic bulldogs they are not perfect. I was in Scarth Street recently there was a four wheeled vehicule parked half on the pavement half on the double yellow a female warden with tatty dyed blond hair came round the corner saw the vehicle and promptly scuttled off down Stanhope Road so fast that I was unable to get her number otherwise I would have registered a complaint.
All you darlington people are getting what you deserve for voting LABOUR like sheep going slaughter SERVES YOU RIGHT!!! As for your traffic bulldogs they are not perfect. I was in Scarth Street recently there was a four wheeled vehicule parked half on the pavement half on the double yellow a female warden with tatty dyed blond hair came round the corner saw the vehicle and promptly scuttled off down Stanhope Road so fast that I was unable to get her number otherwise I would have registered a complaint. snudge
  • Score: 27

12:09pm Mon 14 Jul 14

pager11 says...

I agree with snudge, I have seen the traffic wardens look at cars parked outside Clervaux Bakery on coniscliffe rd on double yellow lines before and walk past, they also do not monitor the traveller church on parkgate. No wonder people are incensed, I only hope someone else is voted in as they cannot do a worse job than these unprofessional socialist tat. Why not charge £1 parking for the first 2 hours anywhere in town, or give the 1st hour free.
I agree with snudge, I have seen the traffic wardens look at cars parked outside Clervaux Bakery on coniscliffe rd on double yellow lines before and walk past, they also do not monitor the traveller church on parkgate. No wonder people are incensed, I only hope someone else is voted in as they cannot do a worse job than these unprofessional socialist tat. Why not charge £1 parking for the first 2 hours anywhere in town, or give the 1st hour free. pager11
  • Score: 30

2:07pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

Are there not councillors and council officers on the BID board who know what is going on?

The high parking charges and BID was a simple attempt to extract money from ratepayers and business owners which has back fired.

There was a small collision between two vehicles that held up traffic recently. A traffic warden was present but didn't approach the vehicles until the dispute had sorted itself. They are not traffic wardens - they are money collectors.
Are there not councillors and council officers on the BID board who know what is going on? The high parking charges and BID was a simple attempt to extract money from ratepayers and business owners which has back fired. There was a small collision between two vehicles that held up traffic recently. A traffic warden was present but didn't approach the vehicles until the dispute had sorted itself. They are not traffic wardens - they are money collectors. Homshaw1
  • Score: 23

3:47pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Mr A says...

Bill says how good things will be in the future.

You drove my family away ages ago with your ridiculous parking charges, traffic wardens and yellow lines.

We have lived in Sedgefield all our lives and shopped frequently in Darlington but once we found equally good places to spend our money thats where we go.

Will we bother ever giving you a chance again??? NO WAY!

Now I am just one person how many others will never give you a chance.

It all come down to we have a choice where to spend our money and systematically have not been made welcome because we drive a car. Posts like these should be read to Bill it's his fault we don't shop in Darlington we spend our cash where we want and it's not in Darlington.

Does Bill suffer????
Bill says how good things will be in the future. You drove my family away ages ago with your ridiculous parking charges, traffic wardens and yellow lines. We have lived in Sedgefield all our lives and shopped frequently in Darlington but once we found equally good places to spend our money thats where we go. Will we bother ever giving you a chance again??? NO WAY! Now I am just one person how many others will never give you a chance. It all come down to we have a choice where to spend our money and systematically have not been made welcome because we drive a car. Posts like these should be read to Bill it's his fault we don't shop in Darlington we spend our cash where we want and it's not in Darlington. Does Bill suffer???? Mr A
  • Score: 24

4:37pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Jr1980 says...

What I've never understood about town centre 'pay to park' is why it exists in the first place??
If you have out of town shopping centres full of shoppers, surely the reason people are shopping their rather than the town centre is because of the quality of shops etc, but also that is it easy to get to your shops and park virtually right outside for free. (This obviously attracts the shop owners as well -hence the large brands in the shopping centres)
If shoppers are demonstrating that this is a preference, why on earth would a town-centre already blighted by our of town shopping centre, try the exact opposite as a methof of attracting people?
Sure, everything is pedestrianised, and there is more local transport etc - but really is any of that a requirement?

If someone/something else is doing what you are trying to do, and succeeding where you are failing -by all means try a different tack, however when that fails for several years and doesn't get any better despite investment - it may be worth joining their club and give the shoppers what they want in the first place - free parking - right outside the shops...
just a thought...

And just in case you're not sure.. look at a host of north-eastern towns which have had money spent on them, making them pedestrian friendly, adding more flower boxes, more bus stops and various other schemes - and see how they are all virtual ghost towns.. then look within ten miles of any of them at the out of town centres - mad busy virtually every day..

says it all really..
What I've never understood about town centre 'pay to park' is why it exists in the first place?? If you have out of town shopping centres full of shoppers, surely the reason people are shopping their rather than the town centre is because of the quality of shops etc, but also that is it easy to get to your shops and park virtually right outside for free. (This obviously attracts the shop owners as well -hence the large brands in the shopping centres) If shoppers are demonstrating that this is a preference, why on earth would a town-centre already blighted by our of town shopping centre, try the exact opposite as a methof of attracting people? Sure, everything is pedestrianised, and there is more local transport etc - but really is any of that a requirement? If someone/something else is doing what you are trying to do, and succeeding where you are failing -by all means try a different tack, however when that fails for several years and doesn't get any better despite investment - it may be worth joining their club and give the shoppers what they want in the first place - free parking - right outside the shops... just a thought... And just in case you're not sure.. look at a host of north-eastern towns which have had money spent on them, making them pedestrian friendly, adding more flower boxes, more bus stops and various other schemes - and see how they are all virtual ghost towns.. then look within ten miles of any of them at the out of town centres - mad busy virtually every day.. says it all really.. Jr1980
  • Score: 13

6:25pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Gamechanger says...

I've no objection to town centre parking if revenue is reinvested for the good of the town centre. Users and businesses would then see a clear benefit. Trouble is that car parking revenue isn't ring fenced so it ends up being used to support other services. The way forward is to reintroduce parking special offers to attract shoppers who still enjoy the individuality of town centre shopping rather than identikit out of town centres. I for one don't care for Teesside park and the metro centre. Town centre traders need to stop whinging about car parking because it's only one of the issues. They should take charge of their own destiny. They shd make sure their own premises are attractive and welcoming -too many are dirty with peeling paint frontages and mucky windows.
I've no objection to town centre parking if revenue is reinvested for the good of the town centre. Users and businesses would then see a clear benefit. Trouble is that car parking revenue isn't ring fenced so it ends up being used to support other services. The way forward is to reintroduce parking special offers to attract shoppers who still enjoy the individuality of town centre shopping rather than identikit out of town centres. I for one don't care for Teesside park and the metro centre. Town centre traders need to stop whinging about car parking because it's only one of the issues. They should take charge of their own destiny. They shd make sure their own premises are attractive and welcoming -too many are dirty with peeling paint frontages and mucky windows. Gamechanger
  • Score: -6

7:27pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Spy Boy says...

There is so much more that the council could and should be doing for the town, but they are too set in their stagnant ways to be able to come up with even one. I suggest that they resign as of now and allow someone with a little bit of common sense to try to reverse some of their worst decisions.
There is so much more that the council could and should be doing for the town, but they are too set in their stagnant ways to be able to come up with even one. I suggest that they resign as of now and allow someone with a little bit of common sense to try to reverse some of their worst decisions. Spy Boy
  • Score: 14

7:49pm Mon 14 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

si cranstoun 38 a busker from croyden has been signed up by warner for a million pound deal after being spotted performing on the streets. tony blair helped him out also with a 30p donation to his collecting pot, {tight tony from trimdon} lucky si also found his beautifull wife the same way on the street when she asked for his autograph, si says its all great and he will continue performing, to {{{{{{{stop shoppers shopping,}}}}}}},,,,
,sir i contend this is a conspiracy of mega proportions backed by some of the most powerfull and influentual in the labour party and big business. how many buskers and street performers i ask you, have you seen round town lately, now you know.
si cranstoun 38 a busker from croyden has been signed up by warner for a million pound deal after being spotted performing on the streets. tony blair helped him out also with a 30p donation to his collecting pot, {tight tony from trimdon} lucky si also found his beautifull wife the same way on the street when she asked for his autograph, si says its all great and he will continue performing, to {{{{{{{stop shoppers shopping,}}}}}}},,,, ,sir i contend this is a conspiracy of mega proportions backed by some of the most powerfull and influentual in the labour party and big business. how many buskers and street performers i ask you, have you seen round town lately, now you know. LUSTARD
  • Score: 1

7:50pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Border Terrier says...

It started with the hideous cloned pedestrianisation of the town centre.
What the hell was all that about. I have been nearly ran over twice by druggy chavs riding pushbikes about 40 miles per hour!
It started with the hideous cloned pedestrianisation of the town centre. What the hell was all that about. I have been nearly ran over twice by druggy chavs riding pushbikes about 40 miles per hour! Border Terrier
  • Score: 16

7:58pm Mon 14 Jul 14

baldrick04 says...

Two hours free or nominal car parking. This would encourage people to shop in Darlington which would then reduce the number of people who park illegally. Darlington is becoming a ghost town but with traffic congestion. Council get your act together before you kill the town.
Two hours free or nominal car parking. This would encourage people to shop in Darlington which would then reduce the number of people who park illegally. Darlington is becoming a ghost town but with traffic congestion. Council get your act together before you kill the town. baldrick04
  • Score: 12

8:04pm Mon 14 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

darloboss wrote:
Cllr Dixon said: “I don’t think there are many parking issues in the town centre but I’ve listened to the concerns. That's why I’m meeting with a small group of traders – so I can get my head around what’s happening and how to put it right.
so he has made his mind up already
i wonder who this small group of traders are ?
wonder, in wonder.
[quote][p][bold]darloboss[/bold] wrote: Cllr Dixon said: “I don’t think there are many parking issues in the town centre but I’ve listened to the concerns. That's why I’m meeting with a small group of traders – so I can get my head around what’s happening and how to put it right. so he has made his mind up already i wonder who this small group of traders are ?[/p][/quote]wonder, in wonder. LUSTARD
  • Score: 8

8:08pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Border Terrier says...

John Justice wrote:
Darlington town is a business. Albeit composed of thousands of different and individual business and traders. The "Business" includes everyone, from shoppers, staff, owners, and dare I say it, Council officers. To run a business you need professional competent people who know what they are about. They need to know just about everything that keeps that business ticking, keeping it efficient and effective. Keeping it in profit. Unfortunately it seems that this business has people and organisations on board that are at the least ineffective and at worst incompetent. Step forward our local council and its officers fronted by Bill Dixon. This is an issue that should, and could have been dealt with in an efficient and effective way that avoided what is happening now. This Council recognises that the motorist/shopper/tra

der is the easiest way of raising money by fining them for parking offences without providing proper structures to accommodate the small traders who form the life blood of the town. It cries out for a more professional type of Council officer who know what business is about.
"Strange" But very, very true!
[quote][p][bold]John Justice[/bold] wrote: Darlington town is a business. Albeit composed of thousands of different and individual business and traders. The "Business" includes everyone, from shoppers, staff, owners, and dare I say it, Council officers. To run a business you need professional competent people who know what they are about. They need to know just about everything that keeps that business ticking, keeping it efficient and effective. Keeping it in profit. Unfortunately it seems that this business has people and organisations on board that are at the least ineffective and at worst incompetent. Step forward our local council and its officers fronted by Bill Dixon. This is an issue that should, and could have been dealt with in an efficient and effective way that avoided what is happening now. This Council recognises that the motorist/shopper/tra der is the easiest way of raising money by fining them for parking offences without providing proper structures to accommodate the small traders who form the life blood of the town. It cries out for a more professional type of Council officer who know what business is about.[/p][/quote]"Strange" But very, very true! Border Terrier
  • Score: 12

8:36pm Mon 14 Jul 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

Not a cat in hells chance of getting parking charges reduced, never mind dropped. This council even charges Tradesmen who are at work to park in Alleyways behind the properties they're working in. It's all about milking the public for as much as they can. Period!
Not a cat in hells chance of getting parking charges reduced, never mind dropped. This council even charges Tradesmen who are at work to park in Alleyways behind the properties they're working in. It's all about milking the public for as much as they can. Period! thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 17

9:08pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Equity1 says...

Bleeding the law abiding public dry - rules only work on decent people .Every organisation I can think of hold the public in contempt .Better working as a volunteer in a charity shop for a couple of hours than listening to excuses and drivel .I hope some resolution is found but I wont hold my breath.
Bleeding the law abiding public dry - rules only work on decent people .Every organisation I can think of hold the public in contempt .Better working as a volunteer in a charity shop for a couple of hours than listening to excuses and drivel .I hope some resolution is found but I wont hold my breath. Equity1
  • Score: 7

10:45pm Mon 14 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

Equity1 wrote:
Bleeding the law abiding public dry - rules only work on decent people .Every organisation I can think of hold the public in contempt .Better working as a volunteer in a charity shop for a couple of hours than listening to excuses and drivel .I hope some resolution is found but I wont hold my breath.
2 charity shops have just shut, the one oppositte the cornmill and one in post house wynd, shops with highly discounted rates and rent, with all stock donated free and staffed by volunteers jeez you couldnt make it up, please let the dogs trust take over, they survive on free money and staffed mostly by volunteers and manage to rake in a million plus a week, and have many millions wisely invested. they could really give the council the nod in the right direction im sure.
[quote][p][bold]Equity1[/bold] wrote: Bleeding the law abiding public dry - rules only work on decent people .Every organisation I can think of hold the public in contempt .Better working as a volunteer in a charity shop for a couple of hours than listening to excuses and drivel .I hope some resolution is found but I wont hold my breath.[/p][/quote]2 charity shops have just shut, the one oppositte the cornmill and one in post house wynd, shops with highly discounted rates and rent, with all stock donated free and staffed by volunteers jeez you couldnt make it up, please let the dogs trust take over, they survive on free money and staffed mostly by volunteers and manage to rake in a million plus a week, and have many millions wisely invested. they could really give the council the nod in the right direction im sure. LUSTARD
  • Score: 18

11:03pm Mon 14 Jul 14

Got Ya says...

The only person capeable of sorting out this mess is Ada Burns!
The only person capeable of sorting out this mess is Ada Burns! Got Ya
  • Score: -6

7:00am Tue 15 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

Got Ya wrote:
The only person capeable of sorting out this mess is Ada Burns!
Messes need avoiding by careful planning not sorting after they cause long term damage. The town center should be a golden goose providing long term livelihoods.
I was watching a news article on Brunel's iron ship and the vast sums it was bringing to the area. Contrast this the way Darlington's rail heritage has been trashed. I once met a Chinese tourist in Darlington. She was looking for the spa by the river at Gainford. I asked if her guide book made any mention of Darlington being home of the railways. Sadly it didn't.

This council really is bad for Darlington and that is from someone brought up to vote Lab our.
[quote][p][bold]Got Ya[/bold] wrote: The only person capeable of sorting out this mess is Ada Burns![/p][/quote]Messes need avoiding by careful planning not sorting after they cause long term damage. The town center should be a golden goose providing long term livelihoods. I was watching a news article on Brunel's iron ship and the vast sums it was bringing to the area. Contrast this the way Darlington's rail heritage has been trashed. I once met a Chinese tourist in Darlington. She was looking for the spa by the river at Gainford. I asked if her guide book made any mention of Darlington being home of the railways. Sadly it didn't. This council really is bad for Darlington and that is from someone brought up to vote Lab our. Homshaw1
  • Score: 15

7:40am Tue 15 Jul 14

Jonn says...

Many people have requested free parking, matching the likes of Middlesbrough. Having checked all the car parks in Middlesbrough, it appears they offer free parking but only for the first 1 or 2 hours, charges then apply after.
Is this what people are asking for in Darlington? An initial free parking but charges after 2 hours?
I doubt very much anyone is going to get there shopping etc done in under 2 hours so they will be paying anyway.
Is it just the initial 'free' bit that persuades people?
As far as deliveries and loading bays. I was walking along High Row and Skinnergate on Monday morning and noticed plenty of vehicles making deliveries to shops, no problem at all it seemed.
Many people have requested free parking, matching the likes of Middlesbrough. Having checked all the car parks in Middlesbrough, it appears they offer free parking but only for the first 1 or 2 hours, charges then apply after. Is this what people are asking for in Darlington? An initial free parking but charges after 2 hours? I doubt very much anyone is going to get there shopping etc done in under 2 hours so they will be paying anyway. Is it just the initial 'free' bit that persuades people? As far as deliveries and loading bays. I was walking along High Row and Skinnergate on Monday morning and noticed plenty of vehicles making deliveries to shops, no problem at all it seemed. Jonn
  • Score: -1

10:05am Tue 15 Jul 14

Homshaw1 says...

Shoppers come in a varieties. I never shop for more than 2 hours. From memory the first 2 hours is free but it's also a lot cheaper after that in Middlesbrough.

These are not really questions that only affect decisions by people in Darlington. If I want a small one off purchase and live in Darlington I will probably buy it in Darlington the same as I would pay 40p extra for a tub of milk at the corner shop rather than get the car out and go to the supermarket. However if I lived in Middleton St George, Northallerton, Shildon, Sedgefield, Barnard Castle, Middleton St George etc and was about to do my Christmas shopping or was just looking for a change of scenery the quality of the shopping, parking charges and general ambience matter.

This along, with out of town developments, is what is killing trade. Darlington is losing its appeal as a shopping centre of choice for a day out and its easier to make other purchases at Morrisons, Home Bargains, B&M etc.
Shoppers come in a varieties. I never shop for more than 2 hours. From memory the first 2 hours is free but it's also a lot cheaper after that in Middlesbrough. These are not really questions that only affect decisions by people in Darlington. If I want a small one off purchase and live in Darlington I will probably buy it in Darlington the same as I would pay 40p extra for a tub of milk at the corner shop rather than get the car out and go to the supermarket. However if I lived in Middleton St George, Northallerton, Shildon, Sedgefield, Barnard Castle, Middleton St George etc and was about to do my Christmas shopping or was just looking for a change of scenery the quality of the shopping, parking charges and general ambience matter. This along, with out of town developments, is what is killing trade. Darlington is losing its appeal as a shopping centre of choice for a day out and its easier to make other purchases at Morrisons, Home Bargains, B&M etc. Homshaw1
  • Score: 5

10:25am Tue 15 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

Homshaw1 wrote:
Shoppers come in a varieties. I never shop for more than 2 hours. From memory the first 2 hours is free but it's also a lot cheaper after that in Middlesbrough.

These are not really questions that only affect decisions by people in Darlington. If I want a small one off purchase and live in Darlington I will probably buy it in Darlington the same as I would pay 40p extra for a tub of milk at the corner shop rather than get the car out and go to the supermarket. However if I lived in Middleton St George, Northallerton, Shildon, Sedgefield, Barnard Castle, Middleton St George etc and was about to do my Christmas shopping or was just looking for a change of scenery the quality of the shopping, parking charges and general ambience matter.

This along, with out of town developments, is what is killing trade. Darlington is losing its appeal as a shopping centre of choice for a day out and its easier to make other purchases at Morrisons, Home Bargains, B&M etc.
allmost took the words out of my mouth, people mostly women make a day out of shopping, probably to get over the boredom, a lot with children i suggest will do the easy thing and buy and have delivered online, also if you werent aware argos do click and collect for many ebay purchases,going with the groove you might say.
[quote][p][bold]Homshaw1[/bold] wrote: Shoppers come in a varieties. I never shop for more than 2 hours. From memory the first 2 hours is free but it's also a lot cheaper after that in Middlesbrough. These are not really questions that only affect decisions by people in Darlington. If I want a small one off purchase and live in Darlington I will probably buy it in Darlington the same as I would pay 40p extra for a tub of milk at the corner shop rather than get the car out and go to the supermarket. However if I lived in Middleton St George, Northallerton, Shildon, Sedgefield, Barnard Castle, Middleton St George etc and was about to do my Christmas shopping or was just looking for a change of scenery the quality of the shopping, parking charges and general ambience matter. This along, with out of town developments, is what is killing trade. Darlington is losing its appeal as a shopping centre of choice for a day out and its easier to make other purchases at Morrisons, Home Bargains, B&M etc.[/p][/quote]allmost took the words out of my mouth, people mostly women make a day out of shopping, probably to get over the boredom, a lot with children i suggest will do the easy thing and buy and have delivered online, also if you werent aware argos do click and collect for many ebay purchases,going with the groove you might say. LUSTARD
  • Score: 1

12:13pm Tue 15 Jul 14

snudge says...

I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo
I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo snudge
  • Score: -13

1:08pm Tue 15 Jul 14

tinbasher says...

The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid.
The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid. tinbasher
  • Score: 11

6:00pm Tue 15 Jul 14

Jonn says...

tinbasher wrote:
The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid.
But, isn't that the same in traditional Tory areas?
[quote][p][bold]tinbasher[/bold] wrote: The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid.[/p][/quote]But, isn't that the same in traditional Tory areas? Jonn
  • Score: 3

9:31pm Tue 15 Jul 14

loan_star says...

Jonn wrote:
tinbasher wrote:
The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid.
But, isn't that the same in traditional Tory areas?
Maybe it is but this is Darlington we are talking about and this lot have become too cosy claiming their allowances whilst the town goes down hill.
[quote][p][bold]Jonn[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]tinbasher[/bold] wrote: The greatest prpblem with darlington people is they vote labour councils in because daddy and grandad say its the right thing to do. well it may have been true in the 1930-50s but now its time to grow some balls and get rid.[/p][/quote]But, isn't that the same in traditional Tory areas?[/p][/quote]Maybe it is but this is Darlington we are talking about and this lot have become too cosy claiming their allowances whilst the town goes down hill. loan_star
  • Score: 13

11:05pm Tue 15 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

youd get a better idea if you read rob metcalfes florist facebook page , theirs some bad under handness going on but the lad is sticking to his guns, theirs threats, and theirs support, and quite an insight to what is going on in the clique that reporters dont report, amazing,
youd get a better idea if you read rob metcalfes florist facebook page , theirs some bad under handness going on but the lad is sticking to his guns, theirs threats, and theirs support, and quite an insight to what is going on in the clique that reporters dont report, amazing, LUSTARD
  • Score: 14

8:56pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Lifetime Townie says...

snudge wrote:
I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo
I don't mean to be personal but each time we see a photo of him in NE he doesn't really look the part for a top job, no tie, open neck shirt, wild beard. A tidy up would create a much better image.
[quote][p][bold]snudge[/bold] wrote: I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo[/p][/quote]I don't mean to be personal but each time we see a photo of him in NE he doesn't really look the part for a top job, no tie, open neck shirt, wild beard. A tidy up would create a much better image. Lifetime Townie
  • Score: 6

11:24am Sat 19 Jul 14

Charlie Bradley says...

A huge pay car park is not the answer. The two hour free parking around Duke Street and Beaumont Street is what needs to be reinstated. People who just want to visit a couple of shops don't want to pay.

Simply removing the meters and allowing limited free parking would make a huge difference to small businesses. Rates from businesses taking up empty shops would offset the loss of revenue.
A huge pay car park is not the answer. The two hour free parking around Duke Street and Beaumont Street is what needs to be reinstated. People who just want to visit a couple of shops don't want to pay. Simply removing the meters and allowing limited free parking would make a huge difference to small businesses. Rates from businesses taking up empty shops would offset the loss of revenue. Charlie Bradley
  • Score: 2

10:46am Sun 20 Jul 14

DarloTerrier says...

I was once dropping a passenger off outside Aspire on Crown Street, on double yellows. A warden marched over and gave me a warning on parking there. When I pointed out the 3 buses parked on double yellows on Tubwell Row, causing a tailback going back to the Cornmill entrance opposite High Row, they weren't interested.
I was once dropping a passenger off outside Aspire on Crown Street, on double yellows. A warden marched over and gave me a warning on parking there. When I pointed out the 3 buses parked on double yellows on Tubwell Row, causing a tailback going back to the Cornmill entrance opposite High Row, they weren't interested. DarloTerrier
  • Score: 0

6:40pm Sun 20 Jul 14

Border Terrier says...

Lifetime Townie wrote:
snudge wrote:
I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo
I don't mean to be personal but each time we see a photo of him in NE he doesn't really look the part for a top job, no tie, open neck shirt, wild beard. A tidy up would create a much better image.
And don't forget both arms covered in 30 yearold Tattoos.
Dear Me!
[quote][p][bold]Lifetime Townie[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]snudge[/bold] wrote: I am a sorry for Bily Dixon every time the Northern Echo publishes a photo of him it is always a bad one he really is a nice person and should be treated better by the Echo[/p][/quote]I don't mean to be personal but each time we see a photo of him in NE he doesn't really look the part for a top job, no tie, open neck shirt, wild beard. A tidy up would create a much better image.[/p][/quote]And don't forget both arms covered in 30 yearold Tattoos. Dear Me! Border Terrier
  • Score: 2

11:05pm Sun 20 Jul 14

g10001 says...

Unfortunately for Darlington ratepayers we have a council made up of people like Bill Dixon who are more into vanity projects than providing the basic services that they are employed to provide.
Take for example the closing of the last remaining public toilets under the covered market.
They have no intention of re-opening them and in the Echo this week estimated the cost of re-commissioning them at (I believe 60k).Where do they get these figures from ? - As they will only have drained them down a competent council plumber will have then in service again within a week.
They also throw in the red herring that the Dolphin centre toilets are for the whole towns use which is a lie.
When the centre was built the amount of toilets would have been calculated on the amount of people using the Dolphin centre not the amount of people living in the town.
The same goes for the cornmill centre other smokescreens are that people can use toilets in the pubs shops etc although they never mention the great unwashed using the Town Hall toilets !.

They are caught out lying again saying that the wheelie bins have been a financial success.What they forget to include in the financial figures is the initial cost of the bins,-replacement of stolen and damaged bins,and the additional cost of flytipping .Again all primary school mathematics .
They must be the only council that has a large sports centre in the middle of the town with a purpose built car park directly in front of it that they wont let anyone use to park - not only that they wont let the outdoor market use it either.
As other readers have also pointed out they are forever crying poverty but find money when it suits them ie The bridge on Haughton Road,Works to the ringroad,interest free loan offered to Debenhams,Just short of 2 million on wheelie bins etc etc .

The town was better served when councillors were pillars of the community who worked for free in their own time for the good of the town.

N.B - As the council doesn't have any money would they like to tell us how much was spent clearing up after travellers on Whinfield road and who paid for it ?
Unfortunately for Darlington ratepayers we have a council made up of people like Bill Dixon who are more into vanity projects than providing the basic services that they are employed to provide. Take for example the closing of the last remaining public toilets under the covered market. They have no intention of re-opening them and in the Echo this week estimated the cost of re-commissioning them at (I believe 60k).Where do they get these figures from ? - As they will only have drained them down a competent council plumber will have then in service again within a week. They also throw in the red herring that the Dolphin centre toilets are for the whole towns use which is a lie. When the centre was built the amount of toilets would have been calculated on the amount of people using the Dolphin centre not the amount of people living in the town. The same goes for the cornmill centre other smokescreens are that people can use toilets in the pubs shops etc although they never mention the great unwashed using the Town Hall toilets !. They are caught out lying again saying that the wheelie bins have been a financial success.What they forget to include in the financial figures is the initial cost of the bins,-replacement of stolen and damaged bins,and the additional cost of flytipping .Again all primary school mathematics . They must be the only council that has a large sports centre in the middle of the town with a purpose built car park directly in front of it that they wont let anyone use to park - not only that they wont let the outdoor market use it either. As other readers have also pointed out they are forever crying poverty but find money when it suits them ie The bridge on Haughton Road,Works to the ringroad,interest free loan offered to Debenhams,Just short of 2 million on wheelie bins etc etc . The town was better served when councillors were pillars of the community who worked for free in their own time for the good of the town. N.B - As the council doesn't have any money would they like to tell us how much was spent clearing up after travellers on Whinfield road and who paid for it ? g10001
  • Score: 0

11:21pm Sun 20 Jul 14

g10001 says...

pager11 wrote:
I agree with snudge, I have seen the traffic wardens look at cars parked outside Clervaux Bakery on coniscliffe rd on double yellow lines before and walk past, they also do not monitor the traveller church on parkgate. No wonder people are incensed, I only hope someone else is voted in as they cannot do a worse job than these unprofessional socialist tat. Why not charge £1 parking for the first 2 hours anywhere in town, or give the 1st hour free.
If you weren't aware the traveller church is out of bounds to traffic wardens they never ticket it - Again dereliction of duty by the council ,if its a law it must be enforced evenly and fairly.
This subject has been brought up numerous times but the Council and the Echo never respond to it -
If they accept the problem exists they would have to do something about it - however lack of a backbone prevents this from happening.
[quote][p][bold]pager11[/bold] wrote: I agree with snudge, I have seen the traffic wardens look at cars parked outside Clervaux Bakery on coniscliffe rd on double yellow lines before and walk past, they also do not monitor the traveller church on parkgate. No wonder people are incensed, I only hope someone else is voted in as they cannot do a worse job than these unprofessional socialist tat. Why not charge £1 parking for the first 2 hours anywhere in town, or give the 1st hour free.[/p][/quote]If you weren't aware the traveller church is out of bounds to traffic wardens they never ticket it - Again dereliction of duty by the council ,if its a law it must be enforced evenly and fairly. This subject has been brought up numerous times but the Council and the Echo never respond to it - If they accept the problem exists they would have to do something about it - however lack of a backbone prevents this from happening. g10001
  • Score: 0
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